Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger

 

If you have no time to read,
please scroll down to all the screenshots.

 

A VERY common bullying incident from a Manager towards a Team Member. But this time it didn’t happen behind the facade in the kitchen, office or staff room, hidden away from customers, this time it happened in front of customers. The “ethical profile” of Pret is a facade the public still believes, because the bullying is usually happening behind the scenes, away from customers’ eyes. And then, when the Manager or Leader has finished bullying the staff member, the intimidated and humiliated Team Member then is send out to the shop floor, and expected to smile for Mystery Shopper bonus and fool customers with a fake happiness. And as many are from other countries, young, have children to feed or Uni tuition to pay, they feel stuck, too exhausted to find a new job and not knowing where to turn to.

And when the bullying is happening on the shop floor, shops are so noisy with loud music, shouting of staff to make and get coffee orders, talking, busyness. Customers are busy on their phones or laptops, distracted with talking, eating etc. So, when it happens in the shop, people don’t even notice.

Even when I was bullied during bereavement under the watchful eye of HR, I NEVER told a customer or colleague. I was complimented by customers and received rewards from Mystery Shoppers for my service, smile, giving freebies etc. And after my shift at times I headed for the bridge and still don’t know how I survived. But none of my colleagues and customers knew my inner state and turmoil. I explain in detail at the very bottom YouTube slide about what weekly Mystery Shoppers test staff on, or via this link: “Smile for the Misery Shopper“.

This creates a host of mental health issues under Emotional Labour, that staff are forced to perform. What @Katecordon witnessed today is so familiar to me, and this would be a situation where I as a Team Leader then had to console the Team Member crying in the staff room and at times speak to the Manager. Only ONE time when I spoke to the Manager why they shouted at the TM, this Manager apologized to the TM. But this was only one Manager out of many who did not apologize and rather bullied me then as well for speaking out. But I didn’t care!

The Team Member in below customer Tweet made a very simple, innocent, normal mistake. No big deal. And by the way, the TM made that mistake because she was most likely NOT trained in the first place! The Manager must have stood nearby witnessing this mistake. To correct the mistake the TM then did give the 10% discount, but explained at the same time that she made a mistake and gave the 10% as a one-off. PERFECT customer service!!! In fact, a Mystery Shopper would have probably given the TM an “outstanding card”, meaning the extra £100 reward, or even £200 if the overall scores were perfect. Mystery Shoppers many times gave the reward, even when a mistake happened, but they rewarded the staff member due to how they handled the mistake.

The same is by law, when a price tag gives an old cheaper price even though the price has increased, the business is obligated to charge that old cheaper price, even if the till system is updated with the new expensive price. But this TM probably doesn’t know the law on this and did instinctively the right thing because she cares! The TM here did a perfect, correct and kind customer service, but was bullied by the Manager for making a simple mistake and then giving the 10% discount as a good will gesture, which is commendable! And this Manager is particularly offensive by talking down on the customer as well: “It’s company policy, love“. Very, very, very, very common bullying incident in Pret! Bullying and fear management by the book.

The reason this Manager makes a huge issue out of the 10% discount wrongly given as a student discount, is that Pret only does regular discounts in some places like malls or train stations (but not all malls or stations), where the other companies and train station staff within that station or mall get a 10% discount showing their staff badge. So, this Manager would have to do half a minute of paper work to explain for the financial file why the 10% was given in this Manchester airport, that doesn’t give student discounts. Managers hate to do little paper work issues like this as they want their financial records to look perfect. I got in trouble many times for doing it the proper way in recording mistakes, because Managers didn’t like mistakes in their financial files and rather stress staff to not make these mistakes. And at one time I’ve had enough and told one Manager that if a financial file is perfect without any mistakes, this would ring alarm bells with me if I was a financial auditor. But that’s another story. And honest mistakes that are effectively recorded can be traced back in the system and explained. Again, no big deal.

And also by the way, this Manager most likely continued the bullying later in the office, as bullying Pret managers and leaders can’t let go and continue later on, especially when caught out by customers and they “lost face” in front of the TM they just bullied. So, they try to “establish” authority and continue behind closed doors. I hope that young lady finds quick support! And if this Manager is disciplined by Pret, then only because he got caught by a customer who called him out publicly, like he did with his Team Member. If the TM alone would have complained to HR, nothing would have happened.

This shows as well in the very first review from the new LAX Pret shop that was opened in the summer 2019. I could not have put it into better words how this bullying environment thrives in Pret worldwide. I love American reviews, because they find amazing words!:

LAX review

Link

Fresh off the Twitter press today:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

 

Full text:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

Link to Tweet

 

A little reminder of Pret’s “ethical” profile and what staff dare to say in anonymity, away from the fear management. Clive Schlee “retired” with quite a legacy!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

Glassdoor scores on Pret and its leadership. I wrote a new blog post as well on >>>  Pret’s new CEO Pano Christou, and Clive Schlee remaining in the background as a non-executive Director, while on his Twitter account he still presents himself as the CEO of Pret! I explain in above blog why Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account.

 

2019-05-05 Rude aggressive manager

Link

2013 Pret manager smile at customer snap at staff

Link

The latest review on Pret’s London Head Office from a current employee at the time of reviewing on Indeed. Again, this is a review on Pret’s HEAD OFFICE in Victoria, London where the CEO and other Senior Leadership also have their desks in the open plan offices where I saw them many times working on laptops etc.:

00 2910-10-21 HQ Bullies

Link People don’t seem to get promoted unless you are a bully or belittle your team members. The place is toxic.

Another one from January 2019

2019-01-23 Great Brand Poor Management - RVW24352473 marked

Link “… working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever”.

And a 2017 review on HQ from an IT Analyst on Glassdoor:

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

Las Vegas

Link “Pret has brought over many managers and leaders from the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand…”
This is really upsetting, because I remember when I asked my managers over the years where such-an-such an OPs Manager or General Manager is, I often heard that they where sent to New York, as the American Managers can’t handle the work / can’t manage properly. I remember being confused about this, because I lived in Florida for almost 6 years and traveled to different cities over the years, visiting friends. I stayed 3 months on the West Coast, visited North Dakota, the East Coast, the deep South, often for several months. I have many American friends. Americans are one of THE hardest working people. They are inventive, passionate, disciplined, fun, helpful etc. I was confused, but then thought that I know how complex and micromanaging Pret is, so I didn’t think any more of it. But now I realize, reading all the American reviews that what I was told was bullcrap!

Reading the above review and all the other reviews from the U.S., the main thing the American reviews have in common is: favoritism and racism. And it’s really upsetting, because I know the American mentality vs. the British.

Bullying from the top down: A review by a Team Leader who runs the kitchen and the shop! OPs (area manager) bullying the manager who cries in the office. This OPs sounds particularly nasty, and reminds me of an OPs that I had before my brother died and I was still strong holding out under this kind of “leadership”! It’s also a recent review from 03. October 2019 (this is Chicago, but this happens in other countries/cities as well):

OPs yell Managers cry

Link Managers are secretly looking for new jobs right now to get out of Pret.

 

17 Odd

Review by former purchasing Director, NY

 

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link “This place is what hell must be like.”
This is probably THE ANGRIEST review I have come across, and even by an Assistant Manager!

 

01 Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

“I hate Pret” group on facebook.com/preth8ers

A customer in Chicago in 2017, commenting about a Pret staff who died, and then making a general comment on Pret:

2017 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

 

2018-10-02 Anxiety Depression Dread

Link Depression…

 

2019-04-10 Depression review

Link Depression…

Dept Labor

Link “This job should be reported to the department of labor”.
Pret settled 2 lawsuits in New York, re-paying 4000 workers. In the UK hardly anyone sues because the legal system is different, low rewards that no lawyer wants to pick up. In the U.S. one reviewer on Indeed recently wrote that Pret is always getting sued.

0 Sued

2019-06-11 Corporate hell on earth - RVW27190460

Link “This company is everything that is wrong with the world. … Corporate hell on earth.”

 

A former Manager 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

2015 PAMSU likes to see evidence of good jobs

Link to Tweet – Pret A Manger Staff Union, Andrej Stopa who got fired for starting a Union.

Times

The Times article and photo

 

Amy

Undercover report by Amy Sharpe, Sunday Mirror photo on “staff who are hugely over-stretched”.

 

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link  “… get down from that high horse you’re on”

 

2015 People Cry

Link “A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period”

 

0 Terrible Hiring Useless people cry

23. Oct. 2019 “I have work in different shops and they are all very similar, it is a toxic environment, Never in my life I have seen so many different coworkers cry in the job. Give more training to your managers, and hire better people, don’t allow them to abuse the staff, it is appalling.”

The next review from recently is a very typical scenario of abusive fear-management by Managers. Scaring low-wage workers that they’re “playing with lives” while the top Senior Leadership got away with TWO customer deaths, Clive Schlee sneaking out quietly, remaining in the background as a non-executive Director, while having ignored customer warnings (link to article), not acting until the deaths became public:

Playing with lives

Link

 

»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link I spend 6 months racing all day and barely spoke 3-5 words a day on my shifts if I’m not on till where you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth…”

 

Pret Abuse

Link


UPDATE: 31.10.2019

A brand new review by a current General Manager that absolutely breaks my heart! One of many along the lines of no work-life balance, due to under-staffed shops and not paid for overtime.

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

Link I am about to lose my family as I am never there. I leave to work at 4 am and get home 7 at night. My children looking at me like a I am a stranger. It’s not a life. … Bullying, long hours, shortage of staff, – it’s a proper Modern day slavery”

I think this is the most heart-breaking review I’ve ever seen by any staff member, let alone a Manager. I hope they find a way! I actually cried when I read this.

Another recent Manager review from Chicago tells a similar story, quote: “With the wrong management, the shops begin to break down and brings inner conflict. Pay could be better, especially for seasoned employees. Management gets overworked to save on labor costs. Don’t expect to see much of home as a manager.” Link

 

Another GM from London in August 2019:

2019-08-10 GM 5am to 8pm

Link A little side note, GMs go to quarterly meetings where the CEO and top leadership are present as well, so GMs know Senior Leaders more than the regular staff. Some GMs disapprove of the CEO – at the time it still was Clive Schlee. But I find it interesting that this GM has NO opinion of the CEO.

And another GM on Indeed from Glasgow, Scotland:
Amazing in the beginning – showered with benefits and entitlements and opportunities to advance. Terrible once you see how horribly mismanaged and micromanaged the company is. Zero care for human beings and nothing but boosting sales and company growth.

GM

Link

A little reminder that Clive Schlee pocketed £30 Million on bonus alone when JAB Holdings bought Pret! Link to article.


 

UPDATE: 10. November 2019
Brand new Manager review on Indeed worth reading!

2019-11-10 GM Horrible

Link Qoute:Managers are forced to cheat on results and break standards just so that the area manager looks good on paper, though he stays at home most of the days whilst the shops collapse.
Yes, but this has always been like this. OPs Managers sit in the pub at lunch time when shops are horrendously busy. OPs Managers fly out to Dubai, Paris or in the U.S. to Vegas, Orlando etc. as mentioned above, to party and blow the hard earned money the shops bring in. Many times I didn’t see my OPs Manager for at least THREE MONTHS at a time, and when they came in, they bossed us around and played scary fear management for a few minutes, before disappearing again for months! The only thing I saw regularly was EMAILS and pressuring us on numbers and Mystery Shopper results!

Quote: Since 2018 there is so much pressure in getting the standards right however I’ve seen kitchens running on two people on night shifts and even one on day shift (where four people are required per shift) as area management does want figures to be right on paper- this could cause enormous issues if something went wrong I.e. allergens.Bingo!

Quote: People are over stretched and tired since the pressure to achieve selection in stores is high but not enough labour in.

Quote:
“We as managers aim to make our teams happy and safe however the over stretching on labour just made us cover the gaps over and over not realising the biggest gap was within us unable to have a normal life or humanity due to the amount of hours being psychologically forced into work.”

Quote:
“I have met great people and higher management in this company but there is an unacceptable level of fear culture up here in Edinburgh, where people believe they won’t actually be okay if they quit their job if unhappy. It’s 2019 and if your employer raises you to be scared to develop elsewhere then it’s not a good employer.”

Nothing more to add!


 

This review is one of my absolute favourites, and brings some humour into all this! Absolutely LOVE this! Made my day! 😀
Also, pay attention to the YES vs NO votes on all these reviews.

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

Link

I could go on and on and on, and add countless more along those lines of above reviews, but my posts tend to get too long. I just post one more which is the shortest review I have come across. It doesn’t take many words to describe Pret A Manger. This is even from a Team Leader. Well, it’s simply Pret:

2019-09-16 CoWOrkers bomb Company trash

Link

 

Above comments and articles are only a fraction of a long list of staff reviews and complaints. For an extensive, yet not exhaustive list please visit: Pret Staff Complaints (list needs to be updated, I stopped in August 2019) with a few collected in below slideshow.

When on Glassdoor, one has to register and be signed in to read reviews. The best to see the latest reviews is to click where it says by default “Popular” and select “Most recent”. On Indeed, click on the number of reviews, and then location select “All”. Glassdoor and Indeed post the positive reviews by default.

Finally, some very wise words I came across once on Twitter, but I know Pret will not heed (they read my blog) because they are stuck in this profit-driven business and always find ways to sweet-talk their way out of responsibility:

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons. Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«  — @minmilyjung on Twitter

Any employee reading this, especially in Pret and the service industry: join a Union and leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and any other platform:

The following Unions cover the food industry (links to Twitter):

BFAWU1McStrike (UK) — Fast Food Forward (USA) — GMB UnionUnitePret Staff Union (UK, not as active) and others. The BFAWU is very active with McDonald’s strikes and are very informed about Pret A Manger issues.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

Staff review: “Bad managemet, always being ‘hounded’.”

 

Staff review: “Worked into the ground without empathy.”

 

Smile for the Mystery Shopper. I renamed: “Misery Shopper”!

 

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pano Christou – New CEO of Pret A Manger

 

I have already “introduced” the new CEO of Pret A Manger on a blog post in July 2019: Under New Management, but want to expand a little with the background of Tweets and blog entries.

First of all, the latest review on Pret’s London Head Office from a current employee at the time of reviewing on Indeed:

00 2910-10-21 HQ Bullies

Link

And a 2017 review on HQ from an IT Analyst on Glassdoor:

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

Las Vegas

Link

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link

01 Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

“I hate Pret” group on facebook.com/preth8ers

A customer in chicago commenting about a Pret staff who died, then making a general comment on Pret:

2017 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

 

A former Manager 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

Times

The Times article and photo

Amy

Undercover report by Amy Sharpe, Sunday Mirror photo

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link

2019-10-23 Terrible Hiring Useless people

23. Oct. 2019

Above comments and articles are only a fraction of a long list of staff reviews and complaints. For an extensive, yet not exhaustive list please visit: Pret Staff Complaints (list needs to be updated, I stopped in August 2019).

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A very, very common occurrence in Pret by managers who bully their staff, but this time a customer witnessed this, which normally happens behind the scenes in the office, kitchen and staff rooms:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

 

Full text:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

Link to Tweet. The public is still fooled by Pret’s “ethical profile” facade.

 


 

For any new reader to my blog, at the bottom of this page is my story in an interview on a podcast based in California.

 


 

BACKGROUND

The reader may ask why I write so publicly and bluntly. Apart from having tried internally for 3 years to approach Pret, never sharing publicly what I went through and survived, Pret names, shames and blames shop managers and staff in general, when they fail or are not up to the standards Pret demands from them. Managers are called out amongst all the shops under fear management as well as upper management treating their managers and staff poorly in front of others. A recent review showed this again, and I can verify this:

00 2019-10-03 Chicago OPs yelling Managers crying

Review by a Kitchen & Shop Leader in Chicago, but in London this happens as well, and shops are called out via Head Office emails across the whole company. Sure, shops that do extremely well are also mentioned, but this is about making others jealous to work harder to be on the top and not get called out. This is fear management by the book. So, it’s time for the top senior leadership to be called out after what I’ve survived.

I wrote extensively about Clive Schlee, who since September 2019 has “retired” as CEO of Pret, while remaining in the background as a non-executive Director: → Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl – Articles

But I want to give some background on how unprofessional Pret A Manger is.

The announcement that Clive Schlee would retire in September 2019 came on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press, having read Schlee’s response to a well-wisher on Twitter the day before. The press then contacted HQ, got the confirmation and started “breaking” the news on Twitter.

Tweet to the Press early morning 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger to the press

01. July 2019

“Quiet” Tweet the day before on 30. June 2019, but no official retirement announcement:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link

Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring a Tweet a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions (below Tweets).

I responded to the above well-wisher, and later tweeted to the press, as I told someone already months ago that Schlee would sneak out the back door quietly. I wrote about it hinting that this may happen in:

Clive Schlee and Pano Christou” 02. Apr. 2019
@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are Tired” 18. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?” 20. June 2019
The Difference between Profit and True Wealth” 22. June 2019
You are either the Captain” 30. June blog entry, but before I saw his above Tweet to the well-wisher. This blog entry lead me to check his Twitter when I then saw the well-wisher post on Schlee’s retirement.

Clive Schlee, clumsy again and all being about himself, responded to the well-wisher’s Tweet on 30. June 2019, yet did NOT respond to a very serious health and safety issue of a customer Tweet on the 29. June 2019. The customer even tweeted twice. Schlee responded on the 01. July 2019 AFTER I wrote new blog entries about his retirement and after the press “broke” the retirement news from my Tweet.

This is Pret A Manger leadership:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke.
Customer: “It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

I did an extra blog entry on the ongoing Air Conditioning issues with over-heated shops that I worked in as well. Many customers tweeted to Pret about this: Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-heated Conditions

The press then being the press, pretending to break the news with some “inside” knowledge, “broke” it after I tweeted to them. That’s why I tweet publicly and not hidden in emails or DMs.

 

CLIVE SCHLEE’S LEGACY:

… apart from two customer deaths (plus a third nearly fatal allergy reaction), several hospitalized, and all the ignored warnings, before AND after the deaths, he didn’t act until the deaths became public!

In fact, he was even clueless and seemed patronizingly proud to respond as the CEO to an open letter to Pret:

Alicia Turrell Tweet

Link

Large print of the patronizing, almost beguiling and self-absorbed, yet clueless response to the open letter:

»I am sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to board my flight and I have been reading your discursive open letter to Pret. I must say you do have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret.«

And then he puffs up in the typical psychological Pret style:

»I’m Pret’s CEO.«

And Alicia Turrell is supposed to be impressed that the CEO himself responds to an open letter to Pret. Further in his response:

»You also make your point about allergen information.«

And here’s the bombshell from a CEO of a multi-million (now billion) pound company, that claims to be ethical and caring, and most ridiculously boasting arrogantly to be “doing the right thing naturally“:

»To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point.«

And then he ends:

»Is there anything else that you would specifically like us to do?«

End of quote.

I need to mention that I worked at Pret when TWO customers died, and not only were we as leaders NOT told about this, the “training” in Pret is always rushed and many have to train themselves in their private (unpaid) time. And we were not trained and there was no urgency after the deaths. We weren’t even informed nor hinted to be more diligent with allergen labelling and informing customers! Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s mum Tanya, tells in an ITV interview of her shock that Pret did absolutely nothing, even after her daughter’s death: YouTube: → Pret A Manger failed to change allergens policy following teenager’s death.

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

Right Thing Naturally

 

I write extensively about Clive Schlee’s clumsy responses in Foot-in-mouth Disease at Pret A Manger.

His legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

On the bottom 5% compared to other company CEOs:

CLive Schlee ratings scores bottom 5%

 

Clive Schlee ratings scores bottom 4th out of 5

Link

So, the £1000 PR bribe for staff didn’t fool the staff after all. I write about the timing of Schlee’s £1000-Announcement which came on the day when Schlee and Pret became aware of my blog: Timing of £1000 Announcement.

In mid July 2019 Pano Christou’s “clean” start on Glassdoor came after a person pointed out the poor Glassdoor scores to Pret’s Tweet of Schlee’s retirement:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

Christou was put on Glassdoor in mid July, even though Schlee’s official retirement was set for September 2019, which was then also tweeted as a final farewell on 20. September 2019.

YET, Schlee remains on Twitter as the CEO of Pret as I write this on 27. October 2019:

2019-10-27 Schlee still CEO

@Cliveschlee‘s Twitter

Pano Christou has been with Pret longer than Clive Schlee, and apart from doing a few things differently, the staff exploitation and low pay will continue. He is no different to Schlee. It’s just a different face on the same profit driven company, now under JAB Holdings that competes with Nestlé for the top spot.

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Pano Christou deleted his @ChristouPano Twitter account on 01. July 2019 when I linked to it in “Clive Schlee’s Legacy“, as I had a lot of traffic on my website after having tweeted to the press, and I know that Pret periodically checks my blog and then reacts on Twitter. Christou also blocked me, while Pret and Schlee don’t block me, probably for a potential court case, should I raise a claim again. I explain in my interview at the bottom why I withdrew my Tribunal claim against Pret:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

 

Pano Block


Christou’s handle then lead to a deleted page on 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter DELETED

 

Since mid September 2019 a new Twitter account under the same handle @ChristouPano started. Seems to be from Canada. Someone snatched that handle, and I doubt Pret’s Pano Christou will have an official CEO account like Clive Schlee has.

2019-09-24 New Pano Christou different Twitter

 

So, Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after my blog entry on Schlee and tweeting to the press. The press then “breaking” the news, I’m certain he visited my blog that day where he saw that I linked to his Twitter account.

Mr. Christou doesn’t have a new official Twitter account as CEO, and Mr. Schlee still has his official Twitter account as CEO of Pret. This, I think is not because he’s clumsy here, I believe this is because many people don’t know that Pret has a new CEO, and knowing Pano, he will stay away from social media and always prefers to stay in the background. His former Twitter account even stated COO “@ Pret” not “@Pret”, as if to distance himself somewhat. Clive Schlee keeps his CEO status on Twitter probably so that when people tweet to him in the assumption he’s still the CEO, he can then pass on to Christou or Pret can respond. Clive doesn’t always check his own emails either and has communicated before that when he needed a break, someone trusted is checking his mail. So, I won’t be surprised if Pano is actually checking Schlee’s account as he can do, being the CEO now. It’s just that they keep fooling the public and don’t play with open cards, as usual.

 

PRET A MANGER HAS A NEW FOOL

Pano Christou came from McDonald’s management and started in Pret as an Assistant Manager (AM). Even though he likes to portray that he started at the bottom. Sorry, I worked with many AM’s who came from other companies, it’s not for long that they stay at the bottom. AMs work at Pret with a Team Member (TM) uniform for a few weeks or even just days, and then go straight into AM, and in a few months if they aim for it, become General Managers (GM). So, yes he started in shops, but he never was under the intense stress and low pay TMs are subjected to.

He will do things differently of course, as his personality is different, where he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve or has “foot-in-mouth disease” like Clive Schlee has. But he will be the same in a profit-driven, exploitative company under the new owners, the German Reimann family via JAB Holdings, that aim to topple Nestlé off the throne and expand their wealth.

Christou became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker left the position and went to other companies, later becoming the CEO of sandwich chain and biggest competition, EAT. until he left in August 2019 when JAB / Pret purchased EAT.

When JAB bought Pret in late 2018, Christou became the COO of Pret, a role that didn’t exist before JAB took over. This already indicated that it was only a question of time before Christou would be CEO of Pret.

When he finally became CEO officially in September 2019, but to avoid further bad scoring for Schlee, already was placed on Glassdoor in mid July, a new UK Managing Director, Clare Clough (former Director of Food and Coffee) was announced mid September, yet no new COO. Clare Clough was also the person who was tasked to face the press in an interview on ITV. She was caught off-guard (at 1:08 minutes into the video) on the fact that if Pret would have taken allergen labelling seriously 3 – 4 years ago, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse would still be alive.

Alicia Turrell who wrote the open letter to Pret with Schlee replying makes a good point again on why Clive Schlee wasn’t interviewed:

2018-11-30 Alicia Turrell on Clare Clough woman allergen

Link

I mention this as well because Clare Clough seems to be more courageous and effective compared to Pano Christou, when he was the UK Managing Director. Clough has already been more visible from the get go as a UK MD compared to Christou.

 

PANO’S STYLE

It seems that the COO role was just an interim position for Christou to step up to the CEO role. No new announcement has been made on a new COO.

When I worked at Pret, I was a Team Leader for most of the 10 years I worked there. I had access to internal Pret emails, and the main thing I saw Pano doing, apart from being the shadow of Schlee, was sending out emails that seemed to have been like death announcements. He also wrote mainly in the internal Pret magazine for staff and did other email announcements.

I received the news of my brother’s death via a short and sharp email, which among other emailing issues from work, has thrust me into an emailing spree (from my private email account at home, never from Pret’s email accounts, just to clarify that). I talk about this in below audio interview. But when I was a Team Leader and checked the emails in the office, doing the ordering, communicating with other shops and area managers etc. email would come in at times from Pano. These emails started something like, “It’s with great sadness that I have to announce…”

Every time a mail like this started, my heart dropped and I thought, who on earth has died?!

He then went on to write something like, “It’s with great sadness that I have to announce the closure of one of our shops in such-and-such a street/town…”.

Sorry, what?!!!

I remember still being shaken and wobbly reading this, then getting upset! He wrote in such dramatic way about a freaking shop closure as if someone died! None of us low-paid staff cared if Pret lost a few thousand pounds from their millions! Even all the numbers and profits Christou shared, when Pret broke another record of having taken a certain amount of millions per week, we staff plainly didn’t care. Our pay check remained the same for years, we didn’t get a pay-rise except what the Government raised. And the £10 for all staff received for this “achievement” that Pret handed out, or later even worse, ordering a cake per shop for all shops, felt more like an insult than a reward. I remember one colleague saying about the cakes, that it would be better to get nothing than to be served up with a cheap sugar cake for all our hard work. Cakes often ended up hardly eaten, stale in the fridge.

So, Pano Christou will not be on social media, especially with my public confrontation. He will have learned from Clive Schlee’s clumsy social media presence, and avoid being public as much as he can. He will communicate internally and continue to present this shiny PR[et] facade to lure in workers with a slightly higher pay and other incentives. But he will keep them at that level and brainwash them like Pret does best.

But staff will always speak bluntly in anonymity, how reality is behind the facade. And the Unions will continue to unionize employees, and others will start speaking out openly.

 

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons. Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.« @minmilyjung on Twitter

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

Staff review: “Bad managemet, always being ‘hounded’.”

 

Staff review: “Worked into the ground without empathy.”

 

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Raped – Robbed – Ripped Off

 

It’s not normal to be raped

it’s not normal to be robbed

it’s not normal to be ripped off

So, why do we accept people in our #firstworldproblem society to be bullied and exploited by and for millionaires, billionaires and their heirs?

Huh?

I am tired of people telling me that “this is just the way it is”.

Well, maybe for you. Settle yourself.

But I drew the line.

Don’t just take note; stand up and speak out!

 

 

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides:

Link: → Why is Pret A Manger not being investigated on staff deaths?

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger set aside £10

 

Yep. A penny in a beggars cup ………………………………………………com

 

The deal:

Pret set aside £10 (“million”) for food allergy scandal costs, while Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret, pocketed £30 million on bonus alone from JAB Holdings.

Schlee remains in the background as a non-executive director, and is still featured on Twitter as the CEO on this day, 21. October 2019.

 

Schlee CEO 21 Oct 2019

 

Pano Christou, new CEO (fool) of Pret A Manger, who came from McDonald’s, deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press.

Screenshot of his deleted Twitter account. But a Canadian was so kind and generous to take over Christou’s handle (what are friends for!)

 

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

 

How much Pret cares about customers and staff alike:

 

10m

Link

 

The role of COO in Pret came only after JAB took over. Pano Christou, former UK Managing Director was to be the CEO after Schlee?

The new UK Managing Director, a woman, who’s already working hard, will never be the COO of Pret, because that role doesn’t exist anymore.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Request to Delete Tweet re: Food Safety

 

I’d like to respond to a request on Twitter for me to delete a Tweet regarding food safety. I respond via my blog, as I want to avoid posting 50 million Tweets to explain.

The thread is about food donation via apps. It’s a great way to safe food from being wasted. It’s an increasing way in many countries to tackle the food waste crisis, and it’s really amazing to see this trend grow.

Something caught my eye in the top right photo which I mentioned in the Tweet.

Initial Tweet:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 00

Link

On the top right photo (by @Laurahodges_) are cups of soups. I mentioned about Pret not giving out hot food due to health and safety reasons with the temperatures.

I was informed that as of recently Pret does give out hot food, as long as it is picked up within a 2 hour window.

I explain further below, underneath the Tweet screenshots:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 02

Link

 

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 03

Link

 

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 10

Link

The “shocking” response is about the daily food waste in plastic to landfill that I posted about in Pret A Manger Food Waste. The daily food waste to landfill is a reality that Pret wants to sweep under the carpet.

Just some of the photos and Tweets from customers, the problem is much larger as I had to waste for years, as well as Amy Sharpe, a reporter who went undercover into Pret after reading my blog and my suggestion to go undercover to see for herself:

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

@amylsharpe >>> Undercover Report

amy sharpe waste bag

The Sunday Mirror photo

 

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

 

2019-07-22 Food waste

Link

September 2019, Chicago

2019-09-16 Chicago food waste

Link

A recent staff review, also from Chicago, on daily food waste:

2019-08-09 Review Chicago Food Waste

Link

The above are only a few of the photos customers post on social media.

Further in the food donation thread from today:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 08

Link

So, here’s the back-story.

I am being asked to remove a Tweet as this won’t look good on whatever is being portrayed to the public in regards to food safety.

I worked for TEN years in Pret, and for most of these 10 years I was a Front of House Team Leader (Floor Leader – FL), which in Pret is like a mini-manager. Team Leaders do the most work and get the blame for anything Managers don’t want to take responsibility for. Health and safety is one of THE responsibilities of Team Leaders. I took that very serious and was known for throwing out products that where of low quality or “off” as instructed by company standards. I was not a favourite of my bosses as I followed instructions while still helping to bring profit.

So, Managers were always in a pickle with me. For one, I did my job extremely well, even under difficult circumstances and in bereavement, helping to raise the profit in each shop I worked at. BUT I also followed standards and didn’t bow to pressure to do dodgy things to avoid waste.

One such incident was when I helped out in a shop that failed in health and safety, having to bring the shop back up to standard. As I was the Team Leader in charge of this shop one Friday evening closing shift, this shop was closed during the weekends. A Team Member was cleaning and closing the kitchen including washing the vegetable for the next business day’s production. Pret has the procedure that once the vegetables are washed with the chlorine solution, it should be used within 2 business days from THE DAY the veg is washed. So, if I wash vegetables today 12th Oct. 2019, the expiry date should be tomorrow 13th October at the end of that business day! In the case of Friday, the veg should be used or discarded on Saturday.

Most shops wash the veg towards closing time at about 5pm, and most if not all veg is used the next day. So, all is in the green. Part of my job as a Team Leader was to sign off the “product labels” for the ingredients. The person who closed the kitchen prepared the label for me to sign AFTER he washed the veg. But I couldn’t sign for the label as the shop was closed over the weekend, meaning the 2 days would be passed by Saturday closing time, and Monday would be the FOURTH day, with the veg being soggy.

I called the Operations Manager (OPs – area manager) as all Managers were in the big quarterly meeting and informed her that I need to waste all the veg as I cannot transfer it out to other 7 day (Mon – Sun) shops, without any vehicle and no Managers around to agree to take the veg for Saturday’s production. The OPs via text just said to me after I asked if I should throw the veg out, she just said: “Do what you know is right”. She tried to get herself out of responsibility by neither telling me to do the right thing by wasting, nor to do the wrong thing to keep the veg.

So, I did what I knew was right according to what I was taught and wasted numerous kilograms of vegetable!

A few days later I saw an email between that OPs and the Food Safety team, sending the email to the area of shops, asking if I did the right thing. I kept the email for my protection, which said that I DID the right thing, as I was constantly being targeted for every little thing to get me to fail (I explain in the audio player at the bottom).

The OPs being insecure, if what I did was right, as it cost a lot of money, asked for confirmation with HQ. And it seems that I again was the only one who followed procedure, whereas most shops extend and stretch products to avoid waste and not be in a clinch with management. And the procedure was changed then for a Team Member to come in earlier on Mondays to wash vegetables.

The Email between the OPs and HQ Food Team (I smudged out the names):

2015-08-11-email-hs-1.jpg

 

What Managers did then, they kept me as the Team Leader doing all the hard work, but never promoted me, as I didn’t want to do the short cuts for their bonus. It’s an open secret that Managers subtly coerce Team Leaders into doing wrong things like stretching products etc. And if getting caught, the Manager is off the hook, and the Team Leader gets fired as they can never prove that the Manager coerced them manipulatively to do dodgy things. And at the same time, Team Leaders should refuse to do short cuts, even if it means they’re never promoted. If a Team Leader does the dodgy things and never gets caught, they are promoted as they do everything requested of them. It always had this little “Mafia” or gang feel to it.

I worked in a dozen Pret shops that were my main shops, and worked in even more stores, helping out for a day or a week. I closed many, many shops for many years! Regarding food waste, when the charity pick-up did not happen or we had no manpower and time to apply the allergen labels for charity; when pick-up did happen, the instruction was always to NOT give out hot food as well as no sushi (raw fish / rice), when Pret stocked sushi. Basically, any high risk foods were to be wasted.

For 10 years, I and my Teams and my Team Leader colleagues were instructed to NOT give out hot food to charity or anyone picking up the food for charity / homeless people.

The reason we were explained is, that due to the temperature fluctuation, the food can go off quicker and wouldn’t be safe for people to eat.

Hot food in Pret is kept (or rather is “supposed” to be kept!) for 2 hours in the hot cabinet. This is for quality purpose as the food becomes dry, stale and hard after 2 hours, as well as not being as hot anymore. But due to under-staffing and pressure to have products on the shelves, staff cheat and “stretch” the hours by marking on the lid an hour or two hours longer. But the food is still in the HOT cabinet.

In this below Tweet from Pret it’s very clearly marked. In this case the porridge lid has 10 o’clock marked, meaning the porridge was prepared at 8am and then marked for 2 hours. But at times a staff member marks a new lid to let’s say 11am or noon, and replaces it, throwing away the earlier lid. This they do if they ran out of porridge/soup etc. to keep products for the Mystery Shopper bonus and to minimize waste.

2014 Soup Lid timed

Link (Side note: Pret’s being sued for the “natural” claim >>> Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

Hot food being given out AFTER the 2 hour HOT cabinet storage fluctuates the temperature, and this is when it can become tricky with health and safety. The main thing that can happen to people eating a luke-warm or cold soup after it being heated (or rather RE-heated) is they get, in plain language, diarrhea. For a homeless person on the streets, this wouldn’t be very pleasant.

I want to mention as well that the hot food, particularly the soups are re-heated at least once. Pret soups are produced in factories and come ready cooked in bags to the shops. In the shops the bags are then re-heated in water-baths or if in a hurry put into the microwave. This is then the second time the soups are heated. There is NO cooking in pots and pans in Pret kitchens! Sometimes, due to lack of time, lack of staff and lack of soup products, the soups are even heated a THIRD time, even though staff are not allowed to do this!

For example, if a soup bag is still sitting in the hot water-bath unopened at the end of the business day, staff are supposed to WASTE the bag which holds 6 cups of soup. But due to the Manager always pressing to minimize waste for his/her bonus, staff cheat and let the bag cool down and store it back in the fridge for the next day to be heated up AGAIN.

They are not allowed to do this, but it’s an open secret that this keeps happening and it’s only a point of not getting caught. So, potentially soups are heated three times, but for sure always two times. Plus, if a person gets a soup or other hot product from the charity run, they may heat it up as well, for sure for the third time and maybe even fourth time!

Thus, if a person eating the soup gets any health issues, they can never trace back what happened or if the hot food was re-heated multiple times etc. I often got the “evil eye” from my bosses when I threw out unopened soup bags that were left-over in the water bath as I 1. didn’t want any health and safety issues for customers and staff, and 2. it wasn’t worth losing my job for Manager’s bonus by decreasing waste in a dodgy way.

And just today I saw a Tweet to a video of how Panera Bread heats their Mac & Cheese. Panera Bread is also owned by JAB Holdings that bought Pret last year. But this is exactly how the water-baths look like in Pret:

 

One recent review also states clearly that food is not fresh and comes in ready cooked from factories:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Food not fresh stop being evil RVW27190460

Link (Glassdoor incrasingly wants people to log in to see reviews that’s why I do screenshots).

So, I’m being asked to delete a Tweet, as it is supposedly false information. I speak from 10 years in Pret, having seen and witness countless times how food is handled and mishandled! The new “training” Laura Hodges has received may be due to the list of food waste that I’ve posted and that has outraged many people. I know how Pret works, I know their tricks, traps and ways in fooling the public.

My own story I share in below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California.

I will not delete my Tweet and Ms. Hodges has already re-posted. I will not be silent and hush about what is going on behind the shiny PR[et] facade on various of issues. TWO Pret customers have died, a third nearly fatal incident and numerous ignored warnings on allergen labelling by Pret. I will not be silent nor delete. I also posted about the ongoing issues of mislabelling in Pret: >>> When Vegetarians Eat Ham

Ms. Hodges can feel free to block me. I have no concern about being blocked or reported.

The main issue I write about regarding Pret is the toxic work environment for profit. I almost lost my life and continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

More here: Why is Pret A Manger not investigated on Staff Deaths / Suicides?

So, MS. Hodges can do with this what she likes, but I will always speak out after TWO customers have died (while I worked at Pret responsible for health and safety, never being told about it!). And Pret only started acting when deaths became public. I will also continue to write from a behind the scenes perspective on staff treatment and the forced happiness staff have to portray for Mystery Shopper cash incentives and to avoid fear management.

Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret “retired” with poor scores on Glassdoor & Co. for a reason while remaining as a non-executive Director in the background:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO, Pano Christou:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Glassdoor Review: “Worked into the ground without empathy”:

 

Incomplete list of questions weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on, no matter how staff feel, if bereaved, depressed, even suicidal:

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Secrets to Great Customer Service

 

How to guarantee a return to the business with vibrant, consistent service and a generous approach.

As recommendations of Pret A Manger customer service has increased lately, with praise for the great staff who with smiles, helpfulness and generosity are impressing customers, after I spilled the beans on why staff are so “happy”, I want to put into one blog entry the secrets for this. Why are staff who earn £8.25 an hour, always seemingly so “happy”, chatty and smiley in a highly intense, noisy, hot and stressful work environment for 8 – 10 hours daily?

In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management.

I put a YouTube slide together with some of the questions weekly Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked by Pret to test staff on in every shop. In the slide I concentrate on the smiley service.

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A customer witnessed a bullying incident that usually happens behind closed doors! In this post, scroll down to the screenshots of reviews and Tweets on what many staff experience behind the scenes:

Link: → “Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2


When the MS visit has been successful, all the staff in the shop receive their weekly bonus, which is £1 extra per hour worked that week. BUT, those who are sick that week, even just for one day, and those who come to work late, will not receive the bonus. Many Managers use this for fear management. If a Manager doesn’t like a particular Team Member, and that TM is late even just 5 minutes while usually being on time mostly, the boss cuts their bonus. No mercy. I worked with colleagues who even got their bonus cut when they came to work unshaven. Or I myself was threatened with a bonus cut when I forgot something banal. So, if a staff member received bonus and worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on top of their wages.

Additionally, if an individual staff member, including the manager do “outstanding” service and impress the MS, for example by giving free coffees or other items, this individual employee can get an extra £100 or even £200 if all the scores are perfect.

I write extensively about the free coffee “myth” in Pret and why many customers never get a free coffee in years, while others receive free items weekly, some even daily:

—>>> Free Coffees in Pret A Manger

Managers receive their bonuses each quarter on a variety of issues like profit, how much/little waste they have, how much they managed to save on labour, cutting hours (Pret under-staffs throughout the board to maximize profit and Manager’s bonus), routine health and safety checks etc.

A Tweet from a customer just today:

2019-10-16 Understaffed

Link

And a few days ago:

2019-10-12 Understaffed

Link

There’s more, but I want to keep it as short as possible.

A recent of the many staff reviews on chronically understaffed shops:

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

But the biggest chunk of Managers, upper Managers and regional Leaders bonuses is the Mystery Shopper results. That’s why staff are stressed intensely about this.

I had one Manager take me aside as I was the Team Leader and say to me: “I close my eyes to everything, but not the Mystery Shopper”. Meaning, if I made mistakes or even did dodgy things with health and safety, the cashing up, the Team etc. he would close his eyes and not get me in trouble. But if the Mystery Shopper results were poor, I would get in trouble, as part of Team Leader’s responsibility is to “engage” the Team to always smile etc. Like a cheer-leader. The above YouTube slide shows this clearly.

Not floating my own boat, but I had most of the time excellent MS results and still even kept the MS reports for my protection as one Area Manager targeted me alleging I didn’t engage the Team, while Mystery Shopper after Mystery Shopper and even regular customers said otherwise and constantly commended my Teams. Quite sad that I had to keep those reports for my protection. But for me, even if Pret would have scrapped the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have still worked the way I worked as I love people and customers pay a lot of money for products.

I did not “push” my colleagues to smile, be friendly etc. I encouraged my Teams, I asked them how they were, I gave them extra breaks if they were exhausted, sick or depressed, I supported them and cared about them. And that reflected on their service and in interacting with each others and the customers. But the general tone in Pret is to “force” staff to smile, at times threatening them with disciplinary and even job loss. I’ve seen, heard and witnessed it all and had to console many many times Team Members crying in the staff room or on their way home.

Only two of the many Mystery Shopper comments below. The MS commented on both individual Staff Members and all the Teams as a whole in our service.

Excerpts from two different Mystery Shopper and shops/team: (Ctrl & + to zoom in)

MS Best Team

 

MS Best

So, shops are tested on if they have a certain amount of selection set for a certain time of the business times, are tested on cleanliness, how the overall atmosphere of the shop is, if the service doesn’t take longer than 1 (one) minute etc.etc. etc.

But the most important thing that shops are tested on is customer service. Are individual and all staff smiling, seem happy, chatty etc. The above YouTube slide goes into detail on this. Pret does not care how staff feel, if they are bereaved, depressed etc. I was traumatically bereaved and was bullied and targeted when the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile. I did smile most of the time and have that in black and white (sad to say!), but there is no mercy, no empathy as profits are more important.

An excellent article about this I found and commented on: “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” is about the increasing competition in the service industry and how low-wage workers are forced to perform emotional labour and a big hype to create the impression they are so happy in the company.

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/emotional-labour-statesman-article.jpg?w=755&h=421

 

So, people seem to have been “recruited”, even on the Pret USA Twitter feed, to tweet about the smiley and great staff calling them by name and the shop. All these Tweets sound similar and seem to have been organized. It’s also easy to see that they are recruited because hardly anyone responds to my Tweets, so they know about my writings 😀 . But my response is important as new readers find these Tweets who don’t know about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme.

These “recruited” Tweets have massively increased since the beginning of October 2019 like I’ve never seen before, since I read Pret Tweets from 2018. These customer Tweets started at about the second week of October 2019, after I increasingly blog and tweet about the Mystery Shopper in Pret. It’s also clear they have been recruited as hardly anyone responds to my Tweets about the Emotional Labour and Mystery Shopper incentives, meaning these people who tweet know about me and my writings.

Also, knowing Pret and how they “respond” indirectly to my writings, they will NOW (compared to before) pass on these Tweets to the shops, so that staff think Pret cares. Pret has lost lots of staff, of course many apply for jobs, but my blog and others is a sore in Pret’s sight. So, the idea is now to encourage staff, which is good, but work conditions remain the same while staff continue to get brain-washed.

Of course it is better that customers go on Twitter & Co to commend staff (many wordings are similar 😀 … come on people, at least make an effort and get more creative!), than to complain about low-wage workers publicly, who in turn cannot defend themselves as they are unaware that they were just negatively called out, even by name on Twitter.

Yet, I respond as a former Team Leader having survived this abuse and fear management, that the reason why staff, some of whom are depressed, even suicidal, seem so happy, is the reality of Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management. People need their jobs, have kids to raise and Uni tuition to pay. And the staff reviews on Glassdoor and Co including YouTube, Twitter etc. give a grim reality how depressing it is to work like this.

One such review is THE most poignant report on behind the scenes in Pret. It’s from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to do customer service with fake smiles, as shops are always understaffed.

The review is the one that starts with the large red letters in below slide show:
“This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.”
and ends:
“You will lose everything that makes you human.”

Direct Link to the Indeed review.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

So, dear Pret Customer, if you have been recruited to leave recommendations of Pret staff or not, only you know, but I am writing to make people aware of WHY low-paid employees in a high intense, stressful work environment, with often bullying managers (NEW incident caught by customer), smile so much against their true emotions. I was recommended many many times by customers and Mystery Shoppers on my professional, friendly, generous and smiley service. But no-one knew that at times I left my shift headed for the bridge. My story is in the below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California. 

There’s a reason why CEO Clive Schlee “retired” with such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co and the general Pret staff scores, as staff dare to speak out anonymous more than on the often rigged annual Pret questionnaires.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

A collection of writings on Emotional Labour with links to articles:
The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.